That’s it. Yesterday, François Legault finally said: “We will have to live with the virus for several more months”. In the middle of the second wave, the Prime Minister’s well-calculated remark certainly holds Open secrecy.
That he says it openly is no less important for the future. Because well beyond the “28-day challenge”, Quebecers will have to fasten their hats (and their masks) until the possible arrival of a vaccine.
When it will be the middle of winter – already a confinement in itself for many Quebecers – the government will also have to make sure to communicate its instructions much more clearly and in a more transparent manner.
Otherwise, the already faltering membership of a part of the population risks being even more so. This same lack of clarity also explains why, more and more, the question arises: who decides what, how and on what data?
It arises because Quebec remains the Canadian epicenter of the virus. Who decides on the instructions and the changing colors for the regions? The Prime Minister ? The Minister of Health?
The boss of Public Health, Horacio Arruda, an assistant deputy minister? The National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ), independent from politics?
The policy disposes
In short, if the communication of health measures is confused, would the decision-making process be too? Especially since the exchanges between Dr Arruda and the Prime Minister are not listed.
The last example concerns schools. Radio-Canada reported yesterday that the INSPQ, to slow the spread of the virus, recommended halving the number of students in the 4th and 5th secondary classes.
Result: commotion of combat. Why does Jean-François Roberge, Minister of Education, refuse to do so? The reality is that the INSPQ proposes and the policy disposes.
If the classes are overflowing as before the pandemic, it is because the politician knows that the public school network is too weak in resources to do otherwise.
In this, the pandemic continues to expose how far the two pillars of the Quebec state – education and health – have been reduced to the unenviable status of colossi with feet of clay. The reasons are known.
Scientists advise, but the government decides. At the end of the day, the Prime Minister decides. Sometimes good. Sometimes less well. The power is his. As it should be, he is accountable to the people.
Hence the demands for more transparency in the “why” and “how” of decisions and health instructions. Especially since we are already entering the 8th month of a global pandemic, the extinction date of which will far exceed that of Christmas.
Eight months, it also requires a much more efficient detection and tracing system – according to experts – the sinews of war.
Not to mention the end, promised since the spring, of staff mobility between establishments. Which, as we know, makes them formidable vectors of contagion.
To cope, more people need to better understand the basis on which they are rightly urged to reduce their social contact to the maximum, to wear the mask and to keep their distance.